Thursday, 14 August 2014

Za'atar Spiked Vegan Meatballs and Runner Beans Stew

Early in the week, the weather has temporarily changed from blazing hot to blustery windy rain falling horizontally.  So something a bit more stew liked was needed, but not too heavy.  It had to be light to eat, but relatively quick to make too.  
I also wanted to make the most of my home-grown runner beans, so having  just rediscovered my jar of Zaytoun Palestinian Za'atar -a zesty Middle Eastern seasoning made with wild thyme, toasted sesame seeds and sumac. I made a decision that Za'atar had to be an ingredient in this dish, not just as part of the tomato sauce base, but also incorporated into the Vegetarian 'sasuage' mix that I got from Suma wholefoods as part of the Suma Bloggers Network. I haven't used pre-packed blended mock meat products since my student days, but for convenience  and a trip down memory lane, thought I'd try them once again. Except these were not to be turned into vegetarian sausages, but vegan meatballs!
The meatballs were textually soft and highly seasoned without me requiring to add any more salt and pepper to it.  My only addition was spiking the mix with a little Za'atar spice and it did make a difference.  The tomato sauce base was also lightly infused with the Zaatar spices coming though gently, finished off with with bite and crunch from my home-grown runner beans. 



Za'atar Spiked Vegan Meatballs and Runner Bean Stew.  
Serves 4 with rice
Ingredients
Fro the Za'atar Spiked Meatballs
1/2 Packet (175g) of Suma vegetarian Sausage mix
1 teaspoon Zaytoun Palestinian Za'atar 
Method
In a large bowl, stir in 1/2 packet of Suma Sausage mix and the Za'atar. Then carefully pour in 300ml cold water, stir well to combine and then let it sit for 30 minutes to thicken.  
Set aside, while you get on with making the Za'atar Stew base  
For the Za'atar Stew Base
Around 500g runner beans, topped tailed and sliced into pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 red chillies, sliced
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes, crushed or blitzed in a food processor
2 teaspoons Zaytoun Palestinian Za'atar  plus extra for sprinkling on the finished dish
Salt and pepper to taste
Method
Heat a large pan, big enough to hold the ingredients.  Add the oil and the garlic and fry them gently until the garlic begins to soften, then stir in the chilli and heat for a minute, before stirring in the tomatoes and za'atar.  Bring to a boil, then turn down and allow to simmer gently fro 10 minutes, then throw in the beans and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until the runner beans are tender.   While the stew is simmering away gently, go back to the Sausage mix.
Continued the Za'atar Spiked Meatballs
The sausage mix should be thick now, with you hands scoop out around a large tablespoon and roll into small round balls, keep doing this until you have used up all the mock sausage meat. I managed to make around 16 with my hands, but you may make more or less, just bare in mind that this will be divided between 3 - 4 people. When done, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and pan fry them, ensuring all sides are golden and done.  Drain and set aside.
When you runner beans are tender in the stew, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then gently stir in the cooked Za'atar meatballs until well coated.  
Serve with plain rice. 
Garnish or Sprinkle with extra optional Za'atar. 
Integrity statement  As a member of the Suma Bloggers Network, I will receive a selection of complimentary products from Suma Wholefoods every two months, to use in recipe development and will blog original recipes for the Network.

14 comments:

  1. Well, I reckon that looks pretty good - even though you know that I would prefer the real meatballs! Runner Beans go so well with tomato sauce too - they are about the only home-grown stuff that we consider worth freezing if we have a glut.

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    1. Thanks Mark. Yes, you can easily sub with the real meatballs! I will probably be freezing my runner beans, as my family are not that keen on them.

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  2. Yum! I've only had that spice on bread...

    ~Have a lovely day!

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    1. It is great on bread, and on pitta bread!

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  3. Great minds think alike! I was going to do a 'meatball' recipe, but will have to go back to the drawing board. Yours looks yummy though.

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    1. :) You can still make your 'meatballs'. I am sure they will be different some how, but whatever you make, I will come on over for inspiration.

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  4. I love good veggie meatballs. I am glad you found one.
    I have been disappointed by ones which turn spongy and are tasteless, for the most part. You are absolutely right, Shaheen. We need the zest!
    Sumac can add a little tanginess/zest to the meatballs.
    What a novel approach! Bravo!!

    I have started using Falafel and Channa Dal Vada as a substitute for meatballs, when I don't find the kind that fits my bill perfectly.

    Lovely addition!

    Peace :)

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    1. These are good Chandra, but once made they do not like to be reheated in sauce, then they will go soggy. I will try out your idea of using Channa Dal Vada for future meatball recipes, just have to find a mix.

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  5. With the weather turning all I'm craving too is stews, I love the idea of runner beans in a stew! :o)

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    1. Thanks Jasmine, the za'atar does make a difference, but you can also make this recipe without.

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  6. Oh wow I'd totally forgotten about 'Sosmix'. I used to love that stuff! I don't think my son's ever tried it before, so I've got to put that right ;) Your recipe sounds utterly delicious and perfect for the upcoming season. All my family loves Middle Eastern spices so I'm sure your recipe will be a hit with them :)

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    1. Thank you Sharon. Its a good store cupboard ingredient.

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  7. Mmm Saus mix - such a good ingredient when you want something quick and easy. Looks great!

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    1. Thank you. I agree, have you seen my Vegetarian Jerk Jamaican Scotch Eggs?

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